Lord’s Prayer Ad Banned in British Theaters

Lord’s Prayer Ad Banned in British Theaters November 23, 2015

A screengrab from an advert showing the Lord's Prayer being recited by members of the public (Church of England/PA)
A screengrab from an advert showing the Lord’s Prayer being recited by members of the public (Church of England/PA)

The Anglican church created an ad that featured normal people reciting the Lord’s Prayer, to be played before the new Star Wars movie.  The ad was approved by the British Board of Film Classification and the Cinema Advertising Authority.  Then, the Digital Cinema Media (DCM) agency banned it, saying it could “cause offense.”

A CoE spokesman said it was initially believed that their minute-long advert had been approved and would be played before showings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens from December 18.

They were later informed that, due to a DCM policy not to run adverts which could potentially cause offence, the video would not be shown.

When asked for a copy of that policy, CoE was told there is no formal policy document but that it had been agreed with the DCM’s members.

There is now a formal policy on the DCM’s website, which states: “To be approved, an advertisement must … not in the reasonable opinion of DCM constitute political or religious advertising.”

As further clarification, it reads: “Religious advertising means: advertising which wholly or partially advertises any religion, faith or equivalent systems of belief (including any absence of belief) or any part of any religion, faith or such equivalent systems of belief.”

The archbishop of Canterbury isn’t buying it.  “I find it extraordinary that cinemas rule that it is inappropriate for an advert on prayer to be shown in the week before Christmas when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ,” he said.  “Billions of people across the world pray this prayer on a daily basis. I think they would be astonished and deeply saddened by this decision, especially in the light of the terrorist attack in Paris where many people have found comfort and solace in prayer. This advert is about as ‘offensive’ as a carol service on Christmas Day.”

The Prime Minister David Cameron said he thinks this ban is “ridiculous.”

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